GCC to unify aviation regulations

Updated 22 January 2015
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GCC to unify aviation regulations

A Gulf official has said that GCC countries are in the process of contracting with a specialized firm to study the unification of aviation regulations in order to alleviate airspace congestion in the region. Saif Al-Suwaidi, director general of UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), said the study stems from a long term plan to unify aviation regulations, noting that many Gulf efforts were made in the past to address air routes’ congestions, and to put in place a common system to provide quality aviation services.
Al-Suwaidi said the European experience in this regard, under Europe’s ‘Eurocontrol’ system, clearly points toward the fact that air traffic and aviation services have greatly improved compared to the past twenty years before European countries agreed on unified aviation regulations.
He said that Gulf countries are now seriously thinking to achieve progress in this regard and to put in place a long-term plan that will lead in the end to the full unification of aviation regulations, or the unified virtual airspace of GCC countries. He said the study was thoroughly considered and a consultative firm has been selected to draft and explain elements of coordination and harmonization of the Gulf airspace.
Referring to the challenges that face Gulf airspace, Al-Suwaidi said that the most important challenge is the poor infrastructure in some countries, not only Gulf countries, due to the flow of air traffic from east and west Europe where Gulf countries have become a passage for such traffic.
“The insufficient and poor aviation infrastructure of some countries cause the airplanes to stay stuck and remain for longer periods in GCC countries,” he explained.
In a related subject he expected air ticket fares to drop soon because of the reduced costs of plane fuel. He added that the declining prices of plane fuel as a result of the declining oil prices will gradually be reflected in air fares, as oil prices dropped more than 60 percent in the past five months.


Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

Updated 49 min 38 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

  • The ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage
  • Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has created a new webpage for Qataris who wish to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Qatari Hajj pilgrims can register their details, browse packages and pay for them at: https://qh1440.haj.gov.sa

The ministry called on Qatar not to block the webpage as it did previously and “cooperate in order to allow its citizens to perform Hajj easily.”

Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups.

The embargo includes transport restrictions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but the Kingdom has taken measures to ensure pilgrims from Qatar can travel freely for Hajj and Umrah.

The ministry said on Saturday it had taken several steps to ensure pilgrims could enter Saudi Arabia for for Hajj, which starts next month. But the ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage.

Following a recent meeting with a Qatari delegation to discuss the logistics of pilgrims from the country arriving in the Kingdom, the delegation from Doha left without signing any agreements to enable access for it citizens, according to the ministry.

In response to Doha’s actions, the statement said that Qatari pilgrims could complete their applications upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.